Viral TikTok school threat warning of December 17 shootings raises concern, although it's deemed not credible

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School districts across America are on heightened alert Friday as unfounded threats warning of shootings and violence reportedly are circulating on TikTok.  

One of the posts “refers to a threat to school safety ‘for every school in the USA, even elementary,’ on Friday, December 17, 2021,” according to a message sent out by the Surry County School District in North Carolina. But the district said that “while we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation.” 

The Department of Homeland Security posted on Twitter Friday that it is “aware of public reporting that suggests possible threats to schools on December 17, 2021,” yet “DHS does not have any information indicating any specific, credible threats to schools but recommends communities remain alert.

The TikTok logo is seen on an iPhone 11 Pro Max. Messages reportedly circulating on the social media platform Friday are warning schools of potential violence today, although officials are calling the rumors unfounded. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In Maryland, Baltimore County Public Schools tweeted that it is “aware of an anonymous threat posted on TikTok targeting all schools in the United States,” although “law enforcement agencies have investigated this threat and determined that it originated in Arizona and is not credible.” 

In Wisconsin, the Waukesha School District sent a letter to parents “asking you to discuss this with your children,” while the nearby Hamilton School District canceled classes today, according to Fox6 Milwaukee.

“We take all threats seriously and any threats against the school or district will be disciplined to the greatest extent possible, up to and including expulsion from school,” the Waukesha message read. “If you or your child hears of any specific threat to our district, we ask that you please report it immediately.”

Meanwhile, in Central Florida, the Citrus County School District reported Thursday that it was being “inundated with parent calls this morning asking about these latest threats and their validity.”

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“This morning we’ve seen an increase in rumors on social media regarding a national school threat post that has gone viral,” the district wrote. “It seems students, along with parents, are either sharing a post or manipulating the original post to reflect a new threat at a specific school. This is creating disruption at many of our schools today.”

The social media platform itself issued a statement saying “we handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok.” 

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